The treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has continued to evolve over recent years. We have moved from an era of therapeutic nihilism to optimism, largely because of the advent of the newer cytotoxic agents developed in the 1990s that have complemented the platinum compounds for treatment of advanced NSCLC. Doublet chemotherapy combinations have become the current standard of care for patients with advanced NSCLC who have a good performance status. For patients with poor performance status and the elderly, single-agent chemotherapy results in modest improvements in survival. Prolongation of survival and improved quality of life have also been shown with second-line chemotherapy for patients who are either refractory to or relapse following first-line chemotherapy. Noncytotoxic, molecularly targeted agents currently under various phases of development for the treatment of lung cancer will serve as the cornerstones for further innovations in the treatment of NSCLC.
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